What's not to love about mixing your own cleaning products from tried-and-tested formulas? Not only will a non-toxic cleaning kit save you oodles of cash over the years, but it's also unlikely to leave you gasping for an emergency-room doctor. Cleaning green is also gentler on the environment, to boot. To transform your home into a safe, nontoxic haven, says Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green (1990, Ceres Press), you can complement your kit with an edited selection of commercial eco-friendly cleaning products you trust.
We've excerpted some of Bond's favorite clean and green basics. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a spot of aromatic grime fighting. Bonus: Lavender and tea-tree oils are also natural antiseptics.
1/2 tsp washing soda A dab of liquid soap 2 cups hot tap water Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
Tip: If you're out of washing soda, use 2 1/2 tsp of borax, instead.
1/4-1/2 tsp liquid detergent 3 tbs vinegar 2 cups water spray bottle
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.
Creamy Soft Scrubber
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.
Tip: Add 1 tsp of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise, just make as much as you need at a time.
1 cup or more baking soda water A squirt or two of liquid detergent
Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface it totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top, then let the mixture set overnight.
You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil 2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
1/2 tsp oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax) 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.
Difficulty level: Easy